So you’ve been to the veterinarian with your dog and they have either recommended that your dog’s ears should be cleaned regularly or your dog has been diagnosed with an ear infection. In either case it will be necessary for you to know how to clean your dog’s ears at home. For some owners and dogs this will be a relatively easy endeavor, while for others this could be a situation that requires time, practice and patience.
- Start by purchasing appropriate ear cleaning supplies. This includes cotton balls or rolled cotton and an appropriate ear cleaner- preferably one from your veterinarian that is tailored to your dog’s specific needs (some ear cleaners have anti-fungals or antibiotics in them). If you choose to purchase an ear-cleaner over the counter please make sure that it contains a drying agent and does not contain tea tree oil (as this can be toxic to your dog).
- Some dogs will allow you to squirt the ear cleaning solution directly into their ears- but most dogs do better using the cotton ball method. Saturate a cotton ball with the ear cleaner and then use the saturated cotton to wipe out the inside of the ear. If your dog will allow it, squeeze the excess solution from the cotton ball into the ear.
- Massage the base of your dog’s ear in order to loosen the debris and encourage the ear cleaner to travel down the ear canal.
- Use a cotton ball to wipe the debris from the ear. Make sure to clean the pinna (outside part of the ear) as well as the many folds and crevices inside the ear. Dog ear canals are very different from human ear canals because they enter the head vertically and then take a 90 degree turn. This means that the ear drum is quite far down in your dog’s ear and is virtually impossible to injure using just your finger and a cotton ball. Do not be afraid to insert your finger deep inside your dog’s ear. Q-tips can be used on the outer part of the ear but should only be used by owners who are very experienced with ear cleaning and familiar with the anatomy of the dog ear. This is due to the fact that it is possible to injure the eardrum if the Q-tip is inserted too deep in the ear canal.
- Once you have cleaned all the visible debris from your dog’s ear, allow them to shake their heads- this will help to bring debris from deeper in the ear canal to the surface where it can be removed. After your dog has shaken its head use another cotton ball to remove the new debris that is now visible.
Training your dog early to accept ear cleaning makes it much easier to address any potential ear issues they may have later in life. If your dog has not been trained to accept ear cleaning from a young age it may be a more difficult task for you. Remember to be patient and try to pair the cleaning with lots of praise and possibly treats. If you have any questions regarding ear cleaning please do not hesitate to contact us at River Road Veterinary Clinic.